Jack of all Trades, Master of None
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Des Moines, IA
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Multimeters can usually be found pretty cheap at an auto parts or hardware store. They can range from $10-$50 or more depending on what you want. For you I would suggest a basic, digital multimeter that's capable of reading DC voltage and ohms. Just read the instructions that come with the meter to learn how to use it.
As for chasing the circuit, since I don't know the specifics of your particular motorcycle, I will give you the basics [the instructions for your meter should help explain this too].
Essentially you want to check to make sure there is good continuity in the circuit. Continuity, for lack of a better word, means connection. So, for example, you want to check the continuity between a battery and light bulb. Really all you are checking is that the wire connecting the battery and light bulb is in good condition.
Your meter should be set to read ohms. Touch the test leads together as a reference- on most meters this will register around 0.9 ohms. Then you would take one lead and touch it to the battery end of the wire; then touch the other lead to the light bulb end of the wire. If the continuity is good, your meter should now be reading 0.9 ohms. This can vary, however, depending on the size of the circuit. The more complicated the circuit, the more the variation can occur. But typically, as long as you're within .1-.2 ohms of your reference reading, the circuit is in good shape.
If, however, the circuit doesn't register any reading at all or a very low reading, then you're having continuity issues. This can be caused by bad connections, breaks in the wiring, or simply bad wires that need replacement.
I hope that was easy to understand. Again, the instruction booklet for a meter should also help explain- but I'm happy to clarify any points/answer any further questions you have.